Jo-Wilfried Tsonga rallied from a set down to beat fellow Frenchman Ugo Humbert 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 in the first round of the Open Sud de France.
Tsonga, who has slipped to 210 in the world rankings after a long injury layoff, will next face another compatriot in fourth-seeded Gilles Simon, who received a first-round bye.
Tsonga wasted seven break points but finally took the advantage in the final set, with Humbert visibly disappointed to have lost a second set he dominated.
It was even tougher for Marcel Granollers, who needed three tiebreak sets to prevail 7-6 (3), 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5) over Croatian Ivo Karlovic, who turns 40 this month.
Granollers of Spain next faces third-seeded Denis Shapovalov of Canada.
Jeremy Chardy routed lucky loser Adrian Menendez-Maceiras of Spain 6-1, 6-1 in only 47 minutes. Chardy will meet fellow Frenchman Antoine Hoang or Belgian Steve Darcis in the second round.